Decapitated – Anticult (Released July 7, 2017 – Nuclear Blast Records)
The power and groove of Decapitated’s 2014 release, Blood Mantra, made Anticult one of my most anticipated albums of 2017 – you can tell, I am reviewing it not even a month after its release.
Clean, crisp, and deadly, Anticult opens with echoing guitars and a saturated, airy atmosphere. Impulse is a grooving technical death metal track, crushing riffs and rapid fire vocals with big swirling atmospheres and a solo that winds about. The closing swirls of Impulse fade into Deathvaluation and a clean palm muted riff which, predictably, explodes into distortion with the first crash of drums. The high production value is felt throughout as the quick chord changes and cheese grater shred solo are total deathcore. Rising from the final snare strike of Deathvaluation, Kill the Cult is crushing but, overproduced punk. The riffs are extremely simplistic so thankfully the vocals, instead of screaming in my face, are mixed to attack from just behind the ears, giving the track a depth.
I may have opened saying “clean, crisp, and deadly” but, I must revise that to “sterile, harsh, and bland.” The production is tiring and where a track like One-Eyed Nation tries to be edgy, by incorporating a moment of piano among the machine like drumming and percussive riffs, the experimentation is quickly forgotten as the track crashes into spastic hardcore. Then Anger Line is painfully bland; a mix of simplistic runs and a wispy solo. Earth Scar does attempt to return Anticult to respectability and features the albums best solo with some emotion cutting through the dense atmosphere but, again everything crashes into spastic randomness. Each track does feature an awesome opening, like Never, where a reverb soaked guitar is slowly overtaken by harmonising guitars and a crash of drums but, each track stumbles in the middle. The production is oppressive, although the album clearly has dynamics, from the inspired track openings, I begin to feel tired at the mid section of each track and am constantly thinking; “this album has no dynamics.” Amen is huge, or, if a may YUGE, with doomy Sabbath inspired riffing and absolutely overwhelming drums. Leads come in and the vocals do a thing then Anticult rides into nothingness on crashing cymbals and a kick drum.
Uninspired riffs and solos that are shred bliss but, as best put by Marty Friedman; “You have nothing to say if you are just shredding” Decapitated swing and miss on Anticult. Where they go for feeling the album is so sterilely produced that there is nothing there, the emotion has been pulled from it. Anticult was a difficult slough which I felt forced to subject myself to.
After Blood Mantra I am just disappointed.